What the ACCC does

  • We manage the small business collective bargaining class exemption.
  • We develop new class exemptions in consultation with business and other stakeholders.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t give legal advice.

On this page

About class exemptions

A class exemption is a way for the ACCC to grant businesses an exemption for specific conduct that may otherwise risk breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

To grant a class exemption, we must be satisfied that the conduct would:

  • not be likely to substantially lessen competition, or
  • be likely to result in overall public benefits.

The class exemption describes the conduct and the businesses that are covered. It also includes the specified circumstances or conditions that apply.

Once a class exemption is in place, businesses can self-assess whether their planned activity is covered by the class exemption.

If covered by the class exemption, the business doesn’t need to separately apply to the ACCC for an exemption through the authorisation or notification process.

Active class exemptions

Active class exemptions are listed on the class exemptions register

There is currently one class exemption in place which applies to small business collective bargaining.

Small business collective bargaining class exemption

This exemption allows eligible businesses to negotiate with their customers or suppliers as a group, without the risk of breaching competition laws. Without some form of legal protection, this kind of joint bargaining would be at risk of breaching competition laws.

To be covered by this class exemption, the collective bargaining group must submit a form to the ACCC.

See Collective bargaining class exemption for information on the businesses eligible to be covered by this class exemption.

    How class exemptions are made

    We can make a class exemption when we are satisfied that a class of business conduct is unlikely to substantially lessen competition or is likely to result in a net public benefit.

    We identify the types of conduct where a class exemption may be appropriate.

    Businesses can also suggest new class exemptions, which the ACCC may consider.

    When developing a class exemption, the ACCC consults widely by inviting submissions from stakeholders. Current consultations are listed on the class exemptions register.

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